Former Indiana All-American Cody Zeller did a radio tour on Monday afternoon in advance of Thursday’s NBA Draft, making stops on several national shows, including “The Hayes Advantage” on Bloomberg Radio.
With host Kathleen Hayes, Zeller discussed his viewpoint on compensation for college athletes, his decision to enter the draft, the style of play he’d best fit with in the NBA and much more.
Here’s a transcript of the interview, in Q & A format, via Bloomberg Radio.
On whether he is pleased he stayed in school an extra year over entering last year’s NBA draft:
“Yes. I was definitely excited to stay two years at Indiana. I could have left after my freshman year, but a big part of it had to do with not being as close to graduating as I am now. Right now I’m 35 credits from graduating from the Kelley School of Business after two years, so that’s definitely within reach now.”
On how tough the decision was to enter draft this year coming from a family that values education:
“It was tough for me, but like I said I’m within reach on it to go back for two summers to finish up, but education is important to our whole family just because you’ve got to have something to do after your basketball career ends. So it is very important to me.”
On the biggest challenge he faces moving to the NBA:
“I think it will be an adjustment just moving to a new city where I won’t know anyone, being 20 years old and on my own. And I think after I get settled in and meet new people that I don’t think it will be a huge adjustment for me, but I’m definitely excited to figure out where I’m going so I can find a place to live and start getting going with all this.”
On critics who feel he should have entered the draft last year:
“No. I don’t worry about that at all. Like I said, an education is a big part of me, so I’m closer to graduating. And we had a great year this year and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
On whether he is surprised more players do not think about education:
“Yes. Somewhat. I think college basketball, playing here in the U.S. in college basketball is unlike anything else, playing in March Madness, playing against the best competition, for me personally I wouldn’t trade that for anything if I had the opportunity.”
On whether NCAA players should be compensated:
Just one week remains until the 2013 NBA Draft and with several mock drafts updated this week, it’s time for another look at where Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo are currently projected to be selected as well as some recent buzz on Christian Watford.
ESPN: (2 to Orlando) Draft Express: (5 to Phoenix) NBADraft.net: (7 to Sacramento) SheridanHoops.com: (2 to Orlando)
· Analysis: Oladipo worked out Wednesday in Cleveland along with Ben McLemore, Otto Porter and Jamaal Franklin. He’s also worked out for Phoenix and Orlando, the two teams most frequently mentioned as potential landing spots, and declined a workout for the Washington Wizards, according to The Washington Post. ESPN.com’s Chad Ford said Tuesday on Sportscenter that the Cavaliers haven’t decided which direction they’ll go with the No. 1 pick and the fact that Oladipo, McLemore and Porter were all brought in this week seems to indicate the franchise is doing its due diligence. That said, Ford is still projecting Nerlens Noel at No. 1 while adding that Oladipo has the upper hand over McLemore at No. 2 to Orlando.
· Expert Opinion: “With a potential hole at shooting guard to fill, the Magic have their choice of Ben McLemore and Oladipo. Both guards represent better value and have higher ceilings than Trey Burke. The current preference is Oladipo, who projects as a better defender and is a better athlete than McLemore. Although McLemore has been as high as No. 1 in our mocks, Oladipo looks to be making a push. Considering Orlando GM Rob Hennigan came from Oklahoma City, going with a player that has a high upside, high character and is very long and athletic makes the most sense. While Oladipo has continually risen up NBA draft boards, McLemore has started to slip a bit, and that could see him fall more than initially anticipated.” – SheridanHoops.com.
With individual and group workouts well underway and just over three weeks until the 2013 NBA Draft, it’s time for an updated look at where Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo are currently projected to be selected later this month.
In our latest update, we’ll look at updated projections for both players and also share some updated expert analysis:
ESPN: (2 to Orlando) Draft Express: (5 to Phoenix) NBADraft.net: (5 to Phoenix) SheridanHoops.com: (4 to Charlotte)
· Analysis: Oladipo was one of the stories of the combine as he confirmed what those of us who have watched him for the last three years know: He’s a freak athlete. Combine that with his rapid improvement and enormous upside and it’s not surprising that Oladipo, who worked out for the Magic last week, appears to be in the mix at No. 2 overall. Phoenix is also mentioned often for Oladipo and he’ll work out for the Suns today. According to Tom Crean, the former IU guard will also work out for Cleveland and Charlotte. At this point, Oladipo seems like a lock to be picked in the top five, which is quite the meteoric rise for a guy who wasn’t ranked in the top 100 coming out of high school.
· Expert opinion: “If you’re talking about the guy who is going to come in and be the most effective player from day one, it’s Oladipo. He’s got that ‘It’ Factor,” that it takes to be successful in the league. A lot of guys in this draft don’t have that. There’s no doubt he plays with an edge. Watching him play defense this season, I wouldn’t have any hesitation putting him into an NBA game and letting him guard Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade or Kobe Bryant from day one. I think he’s that good defensively.” - Will Perdue, former Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trailblazers center and ESPN radio analyst.
The 2013 NBA Draft lottery took place Tuesday night which revealed the order of the top 14 picks and allowed various analysts to update their mock projections with team needs taken into consideration
Here are the lottery results: 1. Cleveland Cavaliers, 2. Orlando Magic, 3. Washington Wizards, 4. Charlotte Bobcats, 5. Phoenix Suns, 6. New Orleans Pelicans, 7. Sacramento Kings, 8. Detroit Pistons, 9. Minnesota Timberwolves, 10. Portland Trail Blazers, 11. Philadelphia 76ers, 12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors), 13. Dallas Mavericks, 14. Utah Jazz
And here are several updated projections for Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller:
While there’s no true consensus with either guy, Oladipo looks to have firmed up a spot in the top five, with Charlotte and Phoenix as the most mentioned destinations. A look at the fit in each franchise:
· Phoenix: “You have to think that the Suns are going to head more towards defense, and they need a wing who can score with some muscle, making Jared Dudley movable. This is perfect and a good way to start off a new era in Phoenix.” – Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com.
· Charlotte: “With Rich Cho in charge of the Bobcats, the decision will likely be to address Charlotte’s putrid offense. The Bobcats were 26th in scoring and 27th in 3-point shooting, two areas where Oladipo can help right away. With Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the Bobcats would like to slide someone between them and complement their skill sets. Oladipo is not projected as a 20-point scorer but he improved dramatically as a shooter and has the athleticism and upside to be an impact starter on both ends of the court. With Oladipo, Charlotte gets one of the highest upside players in the draft, but more importantly a guy who will come in and potentially become a team leader.” – Joe Kotoch of SheridanHoops.com.
Zeller’s projections range all the way from Phoenix at No. 5 to Philadelphia at No. 11. The 76ers have been frequently mentioned as possible landing spot:
· Philadelphia: “The Cody Zeller bandwagon is officially filling up again. All it took was an incredible display of athletic prowess at the draft combine to convince NBA teams who had soured on him to give him another look. Of course, we all knew Zeller was athletic, but few knew he was capable of what he did at the combine. Zeller is trying to make the transition to the four and seems like an obvious fit in Philly — a team without a legitimate four man on its roster.” – Chad Ford of ESPN.com.
With the combine and lottery now in the books, the next step for both players will be setting up workouts with teams and continuing to prep for the draft, which takes place five weeks from tomorrow at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.